Interview: Bobaflex

Bobaflex are a true example of a success story and DIY. Before the release of their 2011 album- Hell In My Heart- their record label at the time- TVT- went bankrupt and left the band with no home and a huge threat to their future.

After a long legal process, the band made their comeback, forming their own label and releasing the album independently, spawning one of the biggest hits of the year with “Bury Me With My Guns On.” Every album since then has also been released independently and the Bobaflex is on top of the world.

Fresh off the road, frontman Marty McCoy took some time to talk to us about the band\’s latest album- Anything That Moves as well as their upcoming summer tour with Ill Nino.

FRR: So how are you doing?

Marty McCoy: Great man, just got off a long tour, just relaxing and not doing shit.

FRR: [laughter] Man, that’s the life right there. That’s gotta be nice.

Marty McCoy: Yeah, it doesn’t happen very often that I don’t have to do anything, but man am I taking advantage of it.

FRR: Speaking of that, the further you get in your career, is it easier to adjust from going on the road with that schedule to really having nothing to do?

Marty McCoy: No, it’s worse, way worse. I used to be able to get right into it, but now I can’t sleep when I get home and all kinds of stuff. It’s crazy.

FRR: Wow, I can imagine. Adjusting to all that stuff would be hard for me to do. Hats off to you guys for being able to do that.

Marty McCoy: Thanks! It’s not like we came back from the Iraq war or anything like that. [laughter] It’s a little difficult, but not nearly as difficult as what some people have to go through. But the older I get, when I get home, my schedule is all messed up. I’m up all night, so thank God Daredevil’s on Netflix.

Netflix changes everything.

Marty McCoy: It does. I started Daredevil last night, and I’m almost halfway through the whole thing already.

FRR: [laughter] Nice, man. The album, Anything That Moves came out around August of last year, so that’s been out for about five or six months now. Looking back on that album, writing it, creating it, releasing it, what stands out to you about Anything that Moves?

Marty McCoy: We were a full band again! Everybody was there, and everybody worked, and everybody was sober, you know? It wasn’t like life got to us, there were a few people doing it this week and a few people doing it the next week. We rented a rehearsal space with the two newer guys, although I wouldn’t call them new now because they’ve toured with us for two and a half, three years. They were just a joy to write with, and it was like it breathed new life into the band; everyone showed up at 9:00 in the morning, and we wrote until 10:00 at night for two months. It was a really good time. It didn’t feel like work, it felt like, “oh, we’re a band again and ideas are popping off,” and there were sparks everywhere, so it was a really fun time.

FRR: Nice man, and it really shows through on the album; there are so many good songs on this record. My two personal favorites are “A Spider in the Dark” and “Dry Your Eyes.”

Thank you!

FRR: Definitely man. I’m actually driving to Iowa today and those two have come on the radio already and I’m about an hour and a half into the drive, so I’m loving them.

Marty McCoy: Thank you so much! “Dry Your Eyes” is definitely a really personal song. “Spider in the Dark” is a crazy graphic novel concept my brother is writing as we speak. He’s been writing it for years, and you’ll find out what that song’s about when it comes out. It’s very bizarre.

FRR: Oh man, I can’t wait. Speaking of that, the video for “Spider in the Dark” is insane.

Marty McCoy: Thank you

FRR: Oh my God, yeah. There’s so much going on in that video.

Marty McCoy: That was so much fun to do. We went to Carrington, Ohio to this little- well, it wasn’t little, actually- to the killing floor; we were actually in a real freezer. It was really cold. My brother had this great idea, like, “I want my hair to be blown,” but when they turned on the huge industrial fan, I swear it dropped 20 degrees, 23 degrees. So then I had to get naked in the bloodbath in the freezer. I mean, actually, [it was] the anticipation of how it was going to be really cold and talking to the director—he’s a good friend of mine, Paul Cunningham out of Marysville, Ohio, he runs Cool World Photography and Video, he’s awesome— and he was telling me all the ideas, and I was like, “wow, this is going to be brutal.” And actually, it was so much fun, it was an experience I’ll never forget, and I loved every bit of it.

FRR: Nice, man. I watched it, well, today obviously, and I’ve seen it a couple of times, and you guys make kick ass videos. I mean, even with “Sound of Silence,” with the cover you did, that video was off the charts.

Marty McCoy: That was my directorial debut, and it’s a little cheesy, but there’s a moment in it where I’m like, “woah, this is cool.” Being independent, we started doing everything on our own, not having a record label or huge budgets or anything like that. We were like, “we’ll just do everything on our own,” so we just learned how to do everything, and we’re getting better at it every time.

FRR: Nice! I feel like Hell in my Heart was kind of your independent kick-off record.

Marty McCoy: Absolutely, absolutely.

FRR: Three albums in, you can tell that you guys are just loving every minute of it; you’re having fun with it. That freedom is really showing in the lyrics, the music, and the videos.

Marty McCoy: I would say that’s the best part, is the total freedom of, you know, we’re not going to get dropped from a record label. And we do worry about things, I mean, the state of the music industry is so different, just from two years ago. The amount of people who download songs from iTunes has changed so dramatically, just from two years ago. And now the radio stations that played rock and roll two years ago– like “Glad You’re Dead” was a huge success “Bury Me With My Guns On” was a huge success for us. “Glad You’re Dead” rocketed up the charts; it was the highest we’ve ever charted– now just a year later, those stations that supported us are now classic rock stations, or talk radio stations.

FRR: Or they’re pop stations now.

Marty McCoy: Yeah, or Top 20, that’s a little bizarre. The other thing is streaming, and how people just stream now, but we’re still in the game. When we get into streaming, we’re looking at some of the world’s biggest bands out there, and we’re not very far behind them on how many streams we get a day, and how many streams we get a week on our singles and stuff like that. The industry has changed, but what’s happened is that the live shows get bigger and bigger and bigger, and we’re learning that that’s how you survive as a band: you get out, and you tour like crazy. It used to be that you toured to support an album, and now you make an album to support a tour. And I’m totally fine with that.

FRR: You talked about “Guns” being a massive hit, and then “I’m Glad You’re Dead”—

Marty McCoy: Oh man, it was such a laugh in their face, like, “they’re dead, they’re over, TVT [Records] is gone, they’re over, Bobaflex can’t do anything.”

FRR: It kind of gave you guys a new life.

Marty McCoy: Oh, then “Guns” came out, and we just sat back like, “in your face, everyone.” We laughed hysterically, and to this day, that song is still being played on radio stations; it’s #1 on radio stations. It’s just one of those songs that allowed us to turn around and be a band again. Like, in your face, naysayers, because we had a lot of naysayers. Once we went bankrupt, we were owned by a bank, and we couldn’t get our name back, and our music was locked up in this lawsuit, and it was crazy. We never thought it was over, but there were dark times.

FRR: Yeah, it’s almost like a second career for you guys now. You guys had the career with TVT, and that all happened, and you guys kind of rose from the ashes, and you didn’t really start over, but you started over in a way.

Marty McCoy: Absolutely, it felt like we were starting over.

FRR: Yeah, it’s like a whole other career now, in a lot of ways because so much success has come since that.

Marty McCoy: Afterwards, yeah. It’s one of those stories where, like, I’m smiling right now. People were saying, “they’re over, fuck”—sorry, I didn’t mean to curse.

FRR: It’s all good, you can swear!

Marty McCoy: Oh, okay, well, like, “fuck them, they’re dumb, they’re a bunch of poser pussies” and whatever, like, “they had their shot and they blew it.” I even had people send me horrible texts saying it was our fault TVT went bankrupt, and all this crazy shit. I was like, “what?!” I mean, it was awful. Alcohol is a wonderful thing. Alcohol will make you think it’s all going to be okay.

FRR: [laughter] Well, it sounds like it

Marty McCoy: Keep your head down and work, and it’ll all be okay. Then “Guns” came out, and we had major record labels coming to our door, banging on the door like, “we want to sign the band, we want to do this, we want to do that,” and we just had such a bad taste in our mouths. TVT was the biggest independent label at the time, and there were great people over there, and they did a lot of things for us, and it was a dream come true. When Tales From Dirt Town came out, they had major success as a rap label, having Lil John, The Ying Tang Twins, and Pitbull and all that stuff, and the president of TVT said, to my face, “we are going to show the world that we are still a rock and roll label, and we’re going to use your band to do it.” I was like, “Oh, my God,” and the song “Home” was on the album, and everybody at the record label was flipping out about “Home,” and it was just a hit.

They hired some big radio guys, and two days after the album came out, TVT announced they were going bankrupt. So it was one of those, “Oh, my God it’s actually happening, it’s actually happening, five guys from a garage in West Virginia are doing this,” and then they went bankrupt. It separates the men from the boys, you know? My men stayed strong, and we put our heads down, touring, selling t-shirts, paying legal fees, couldn’t even sell records, we weren’t sure if we could keep our name, so we pulled through all that, then “Guns” came out, and it started all over again. So we decided, when TVT went bankrupt, I mean, I’m talking the president of the biggest labels calling my cell phone, and we decided, who knew what was going to happen with this music industry? We couldn’t physically take another bankruptcy or some other massive blow that wasn’t in our control. We decided to go completely independent, and it was the best thing we’ve ever done.

FRR: In today’s day and age, like you touched on earlier, with everything changing in the music industry

Marty McCoy: — yeah, it’s changing extremely fast–

FRR: streaming and all that, do you guys have to do anything, change anything up on your end, to get that success in a different way?

Marty McCoy: Oh, every day we have to figure out new ways. We’re constantly researching and reading, you know. I think the Foo Fighters are a big influence—man, I watched Dave Grohl for inspiration all the time, like you’re playing in a club and having the best time of your life, you’re a successful musician. I feel that way a lot, and with the new band lineup, everybody’s on the same page, and we’re out there touring as hard as we can, gaining new fans every day, and we’re watching shows get bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s something that we’ve watched happen for years. You measure the successes when we walk out on stage, and the crowd’s there waiting on us, and they’re singing the songs, and everybody’s smiling and having a good time. Clubs are getting fuller and fuller, and there are t-shirts in the club, and the majority have “Bobaflex” across the front of them, and it’s something that I’m never going to stop doing. It’s not slowing down, and it’s a blast. I don’t know what we’re going to do on the next record, but I like Dave Grohl and I want to do some Dave Grohl shit.

FRR: That would be awesome!

Marty McCoy: I want to put out some free shit. Maybe not do a full album, maybe do five or six songs, and say “here, take it. You’re not going to buy it anyway, and it’s not your fault that you’re not going to buy it; technology has changed and why would you buy it? Just take it, and come to the shows if you like it.”

FRR: Yeah. Speaking of shows, in a couple months, you guys are hitting the road with Ill Niño anniversary tour.

Marty McCoy: Oh, yeah! 45 days! 42 shows in 45 days.

FRR: That’s going to be ridiculous. And come on, it’s Ill Niño’s 15th or 20th anniversary tour.

Marty McCoy: Yeah, we toured with them in 2008, and it was a blast. It was a massive tour. It was us, and a band called Droid, which, I thought they were really good, but I was really jealous of their name… Droid, like Star Wars, I was like, “that’s a brilliant name.”

FRR: Oh yeah, Bobaflex and Droid.

Marty McCoy: Yeah, they were awesome, and I was like, “damn, they’ve got a cool name.” But yeah, like 2008, 2009 I think, I can’t remember exactly, but I remember doing that tour and wondering what it was going to be like, but man they’d come out to support Ill Niño, they’ve got a fan base that’s so loyal, and I can’t wait to get back in front of them again. We’ll be way more seasoned, and bringing our fan base along with us, and it’s going to be crazy. They’re a great bunch of guys and good musicians. We’ve been really fortunate; this year, we decided we were going to support tours a little bit, because we’ve been headlining since I can remember. And it’s good; we gain fans and draw fans, and it’s been great. But we decided this year, let’s do something different, let’s go support, and kind of move that exposure along a little faster.

FRR: Yeah, it’s got to be a different ballgame, headlining and supporting, because you get done earlier in the night and can kind of relax.

Marty McCoy: You get those people—Believe it or not, I’m sure there are a lot of people who have never heard of us. MTV’s not around anymore, and things are different. Like, the internet’s cluttered with millions and millions of bands. The first tour we did was with Orgy and it started in December and ended at the end of January. They were awesome people, just a great bunch of people, and they drew crowds very well. They had that MTV success, and the kept it going.

FRR: It’s like the reunion tour, kind of. It’s their comeback.

Marty McCoy: Yeah, and they were great live, and they drew very well, and their fans were loyal as hell. Together, we were having clubs packed from Monday through Sunday. I could see it, that building-of-the-band process happening faster, almost three times as fast. And I heard a lot of “I’ve never heard of you guys; where did you guys come from How long have you been a band?” and I’m like, “Oh, my God,” but it was great though. We met them, we sold them the t-shirts, and shook the hands and took the pictures, and spoke with them, and they promised they would see us next time we came through town. So when we went out with The Veer Union, Bridge to Grace, and Artifas, all amazing bands, by the way, just amazing people, we did that for them. We supported The Veer Union, and we saw people from the Orgy tour showing up that we’d just met the month before. Then we saw new people that came to see Bridge of Grace and Artifas, and had been big fans of Veer Union for a long time, and we had our crowd, and it was the same kind of thing. With four bands, the clubs were jammed, and we had new people learning about each of us. That was a really cool tour, because Artifas and Bridge of Grace were new bands, and God they were good. The Veer Union were kind of like us, they’ve been out about as long as we have. So you would see that happening as well. These people who had never heard of us, or were on the fence, or “I’d heard of you, but never heard any of your music,” and we converted them. It was an amazing thing, and with the Ill Niño tour, the same thing is going to happen, and it’s going to happen on a much larger scale. Ill Niño has got this fan base in Texas and New Jersey, and they are just insane for that band, and have been for years. I’m excited about it, I’m really excited about it.

Like I said, the band is the best it’s ever been, and everybody’s on the same page. We’re just like an insanely tight machine on stage. I can’t wait to have that platform to, you know, show the people our tunes. We just did our last show on this tour—it was sold out—and it was with Bret Michaels and it was awesome. It was at the legendary Machine Shop, and we’d done a show before with Bret Michaels. When we got to the Machine Shop, his whole band and himself came out and everybody hugged, and I mean, that guy just sells out clubs like it’s nothing. He’s the nicest guy in the world, puts on great shows, he’s great to his fans. His fans accepted us, like, it was crazy. It was one of those cool things—it’s a little different when you’re opening, you’ve got to rush up on stage and rush off stage, you don’t have nearly as much room than if you were headlining, and all that stuff, but the reward is amazing. You get to play for people who may have never heard of you before, or like I said, on the fence. It’s working really well, and once we do the Ill Niño tour, we’re out headlining. That’s where we start making all the real money, when it’s our show, and every dime that comes in is ours. So it’s a nice plan, to go out and do the support stuff, and like I said, spread the word faster.

FRR: Definitely. As far as the headline, have those dates been announced yet? I don’t think I’ve seen those dates pop up yet.

Marty McCoy: Oh, they will. Out of respect to Ill Niño and all that stuff, we keep it quiet until about mid-way through the tour, where our markets aren’t overlapping each other. So yeah, they will be announced. We’re doing Sturgis this year, we’re going Rock Fest, and all that stuff. We’re doing some pretty major festivals, we’re doing Earthday Birthday in Orlando, this’ll be the second time. I remember a friend of mine moved from West Virginia to Florida in the eighth grade, and he would call me like, “Earthday Birthday, you have to play Earthday Birthday. If you ever get down this way, you have to play Earthday Birthday.” We’re playing that, and all these great festivals. I was bummed about Rock on the Range. We’ve played Rock on the Range twice.

FRR: I was going to say—you guys haven’t been there for a few years. It was what—2012 was the last time you were there?

Marty McCoy: Yeah, it’s the most amazing experience.

FRR: I love that festival. I don’t know why… You guys have got to get back to that festival.

Marty McCoy: Yeah, I think we’ve got a good shot at it next year. When you put 7,000 people in one place, and they’re all wearing black t-shirts with skulls on them, screaming lyrics, there’s nothing like it.

FRR: Yeah, I wasn’t able to catch you guys at Rock on the Range, we were bummed. Every time you guys come through, I can’t make it to the show.

Marty McCoy: Where are you out of?

FRR: We’re out of Indianapolis. I had somebody when you played the Fifth Quarter Lounge last year, so I had somebody there for me, covering. So I wasn’t able to get there, but I’m hoping! If I have to travel this year, I’m GOING to see you guys live, for once.

Marty McCoy: Oh, we’ll be through Indianapolis. We’re not stopping. Once Ill Niño’s done, we’re heading out on our own. It’s kind of overwhelming, you know, with having a woman at home. It’s like, “ah, I’m excited for the band, but I’m not excited to show her the tour schedule. This is going to be awesome for our careers and awesome for my dreams, but for you, this is going to be really hard.”

FRR: That’s got to be tough, yeah. Hopefully I can catch you guys. I think you guys are playing Columbus with Ill Niño, and you’re also playing Chicago, so one of those days, I’ll be able to get out to you guys for sure. And if there’s not one of those on the headline, I’m traveling, I don’t care.

Marty McCoy: Absolutely!

FRR: I’m doing it!